In this situation, the immune system has a defect that leads to accelerated growth of the skin cells since, under normal conditions, the cells reach maturity and detach from the skin after around 28 to 30 days, whereas in the presence of psoriasis, they reach maturity after 3 to 6 days, then build up on the skin’s surface. This means the skin cells grow faster than they are eliminated, leading to the formation of thick, scaly, silver-colored patches that can be itchy. The scalp, arms, and legs (especially the elbows and knees) as well as the trunk are the most-often affected areas of the body. However the face, genital organs, palms, soles of the feet, nails, and the body’s flexures (creases) may also be affected.
To prevent aggravation of your psoriasis, avoid factors that trigger it and take good care of your skin.
AVOID FACTORS THAT TRIGGER OR AGGRAVATE YOUR PSORIASIS
Factors that aggravate psoriasis are not necessarily the same from one person to the next. Pay close attention to your daily routine so you can detect—and avoid—the factors that aggravate your condition.
Stress can aggravate or trigger a psoriasis outbreak. It is therefore preferable that you learn how to manage your stress—for example, by playing a sport regularly or doing relaxation exercises.
Tobacco and heavy alcohol consumption may aggravate or trigger psoriasis.
Some viral, bacterial, and even fungal infections can also lead to a psoriasis outbreak.
Skin that has been damaged by sunburn, a scrape, or other cause is more likely to develop a psoriasis outbreak.
Some medications can worsen psoriasis symptoms. Ask your healthcare professional about this.
It appears that a dry or cold climate may also be associated with the onset or worsening of psoriasis. In fact cold weather is thought to aggravate symptoms whereas hot weather and moderate sun exposure may improve them.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
Moisturize your skin. Use moisturizers regularly to prevent your skin from drying out and itching. Moisturizing also helps reduce redness and promote skin healing. Apply your moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the bathtub or shower to trap the moisture in your skin and achieve optimal moisturization. Your moisturizer, whether a cream or ointment, should be hypoallergenic and contain no fragrances or colorants. Your healthcare professional can advise you on choosing the right product.
Bathe or shower daily in warm or cold water without scrubbing your skin too vigorously to avoid damaging it, which could aggravate your psoriasis. Try bathing with oats or Epsom salt to help eliminate scales (scaly skin) and soften your skin. These products are sold over-the-counter.
Use mild soaps and detergents, that contain no fragrances or colorants because they are less irritating.
Moisturizing also helps reduce redness and promote skin healing.
For those with psoriasis on the scalp, wash your hair with a mild shampoo, then dry it carefully with a soft towel. Ideally you should let your hair air dry. Remember to use a soft-bristled hair brush to avoid irritating your scalp. Over-the-counter shampoos containing salicylic acid or tar are also available to control psoriasis. Ask your health professional about them.
CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING
Opt for cotton clothing when possible because it is less irritating and lets your skin breathe more.
Choose loose clothing to cover the areas of your body where you are more likely to develop psoriasis lesions. Tight clothing is more irritating and therefore more likely to cause pain and aggravate the psoriasis.
Wear light-colored clothing if you are concerned about scales on your clothing. This will help camouflage them.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
It is true that the sun’s rays may help mitigate psoriasis symptoms in some cases. However this does not mean that adequate sun protection isn’t essential. Don’t forget that a sunburn can aggravate and trigger psoriasis symptoms. Talk to your health professional about how to manage your exposure to sun.
It is generally recommended that you seek a doctor’s opinion before treating psoriasis. He or she can then determine the type of psoriasis, the seriousness of the lesions, as well as the treatment(s) required. There are topical treatments (creams, ointments, lotions), but also oral or injectable treatments. But you can still take steps toward improving your psoriasis by keeping your skin well moisturized and changing some of your habits, as previously mentioned.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease. The various treatments help control the symptoms of the disease and even make the plaques disappear. The secret is to use your prescription as recommended.